Meet Oat Montien, artist-in-residence

9th July 2022, 2:36 pm


Oat Montien


“I was born in Bangkok’s Donmaung area in 1989. Just like other near-airport suburbs it always has brothels to accommodate lonesome travellers. My mother happened to run one; a very successful venture with more than 50 sex workers at its peak. Every last Friday of the month we would host a themed party during which I was designated to take on a very special duty: spotlights operator for the erotic shows. My mother would tell me, “Never use green light because the girls will look like ghouls, neither white light because they would look too real”. It sparked the beginning of my fascination with how lights tell stories as they illuminate human flesh. This fascination was celebrated in the life drawing classes at my art school and I’ve been drawing nudes ever since.    

“After graduating I started to teach life drawing at my studio. However my sessions were not very conventional. I primarily used drawing as a tool to investigate Queer desire to create an environment of intimacy and liberation. I would incorporate various artifices such as pranayama breathing techniques, sounds from NASA, poetry reading from Oscar Wilde, AA Bronson as well as my own prose, even projection of vintage porn onto the models. These coveted sessions became quite popular and eventually evolved into participatory performances for Thailand’s most prestigious institutions: the Museum of Natural History (Chulalongkorn University)  National Library  Bangkok CityCity Gallery  RiverCity Bangkok and many more.


“Recently, I worked for Patpong Museum – one of the rare institutions to focus on Thailand’s sex industry and its history. They offered a collaboration with sex workers as models for my class. Beyond this full-circle moment linking my childhood to practice  it also inspired me to further explore explicit homoeroticism and queer anthropology within my drawings as well as my practice. My current drawing project revolves around immigrant gay sex workers during Covid-19 pandemic.     

“In 2020 I founded “Boddhisattava LGBTQ+ Gallery”  Thailand’s first art space exclusive for South-East Asia queer artists and creators.

-Oat Montien, 2022


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Published: 9th July 2022

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